Meal Prep for Vegans and Vegetarians During the Busy Holiday Season [Episode #423]
Today’s solocast topic is: Meal Prep for Vegans and Vegetarians During the Busy Holiday Season
Beauties, holiday season is in full swing! I love this time of year, because we get to spend extra time with loved ones, usually over a delicious, comforting meal. But sometimes it can be challenging to be creative when meal prepping with only plant-based foods. Today’s podcast is dedicated to sharing my ideas for fun and easy vegan meal prep during our busy holiday lives!
You can use these ideas if you’re hosting a holiday meal, bringing dishes to a holiday potluck, want to have extra food on hand for visitors, or just want to meal prep for yourself so you can stay on track during a busy season.
Topics Covered In Meal Prep for Vegans and Vegetarians During the Busy Holiday Season
#1. Keeping things easy with delicious seasonal ingredients
#2. Saving time with one-pot plant based meals
#3. How to take healthy “short-cuts” to cut down on meal prep time
#4. Spicing up food to add festive flavor
#5. Snacking on-the-go
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Kimberly Snyder: Hi beauties, welcome back for our Monday solocast episode. Today, our topic is Meal Prep for Vegans and Vegetarians During the Busy Holiday Season. I’ve been getting so many questions about, “Oh, I’m plant-based or largely plant-based, and what do I do about being together with friends and family at holidays and get togethers? I don’t want to be the weird one. I don’t want people to judge me. I don’t want to make it a big deal how I’m eating.”
Kimberly Snyder: Today, I want to cover some tips and strategies for really getting through the holidays and really in general and anytime you’re going to be around friends and family and anytime you’re getting together. Anytime there’s parties, barbecues, whatever, these strategies can also apply but are especially applicable right now because there’s so much going on, and you may be caught in a whirlwind right now and just feeling a little bit of anxiety about what you’re going to make and what you’re going to do.
Kimberly Snyder: We’re going to cover that all today, and hopefully you will leave the show having a lot of inspiration and a lot of different tips and leave feeling really good about of course how you’re eating and how you choose to eat, but also how you can be around your loved ones, and share and feel good and not feel ostracized and just have a great time in general. It’s that time of year of course, where we want to connect. We want to have fun, and we want to have delicious food, but keep it as stress free as possible.
Fan Of The Week
Kimberly Snyder: Before we dive in, I want to give a quick shout out to our fan of the week. Her name is Peace and Harmony Momma. I love this name. She writes, ” I just wanted to say that I religiously listen to Kimberly Snyder’s podcast. I learned so much from her, and I really appreciate every single episode.” Well, Peace and Harmony Momma, I appreciate you so much. Thank you so much for being our fan of the week. Thank you for taking the time to leave this review.
Kimberly Snyder: From one momma to another, I am so glad and grateful that we are connected. I’m so glad that you are taking the time to listen to podcasts and to nurture yourself because I know how crazy it can be. Motherhood can sweep us up, and we can start to feel overwhelmed at times of course, but when we say our cup runneth over, then we can give more to others. I do think as a mom, it’s especially important that we take great care and we take time for self-care, and listening to podcasts and positive ones are a really important part of that, I think, to keep the inspiration going and to feel the community and the love and the support.
Kimberly Snyder: Thank you so much, Peace and Harmony Momma, sending you so much love. Beauties, for your chance to also be shouted out as the fan of the week, please just take a moment or two out of your day and leave us a review on iTunes, which is free and easy. Just like Peace and Harmony Momma’s review, it can be one or two sentences. It Could be super brief, but what it does is it really helps other beauties like yourself find the show. It helps to spread this information which can really help benefit others’ lives.
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Kimberly Snyder: Thank you so much in advance for taking the time to do that. I really do appreciate it. You can also share the podcast. There’s a share button on SoundCloud and iTunes or wherever you listen to our feel good podcast. You can share it with friends and family and colleagues that you think would benefit as well. Finally, I’ll say, as a little reminder, to make sure that you subscribe to our show. It’s just a great way, as I was saying earlier, to keep the motivation going and the inspiration on a weekly basis.
Kimberly Snyder: You also will not miss out on any topics, any Q and A’s, any interviews, so you really keep that flow of positivity and inspiration coming into your life, which is a really important part of self-care. All of that being said, let’s get into our topic now, beauties. I am really passionate about talking about this because as I mentioned, I listen to these questions from you guys, and sometimes they break my heart when…
Kimberly Snyder: We had a question on the Q and A recently from a woman who was talking about feeling like she had a lot of anxiety around being plant-based, and she was a little bit anxious that when she got out into the dating world, people would judge her. She would feel weird. She didn’t want to feel like the weird one. I really want to talk about this because I don’t think enjoying the holidays and holiday meals and be with family and friends is mutually exclusive to being vegan or vegetarian plant-based.
Kimberly Snyder: I think you could definitely do both. I think that it’s important to have some strategies for sure and some ideas which we’re going to get into right now. It lessens the anxiety, and it lessens the stress. It also makes the meals delicious and vibrant and ones that you can share, and ones that people will find delicious, whether they’re plant-based or omnivores or whatever. However they eat, just good food made with love is good food. That’s something that’s a beautiful thing to share and just spread as well.
Keeping things easy with delicious seasonal ingredients
Kimberly Snyder: Let’s get right into it. The first thing that I want to talk about, which is basic part of cooking during this holiday season is to really make sure that we’re using seasonal ingredients. Especially right now in the winter, in the cold months, there’s a lot of seasonal ingredients out there that are also very bright and beautiful and contain a lot of antioxidants and a lot of important nutrients, which from a health perspective is going to help boost our immunity and give us that vibrant energy, and then also just from an energetic standpoint, has that visual appeal.
Kimberly Snyder: When we make these dishes, they are beautiful. They help us feel beautiful, and they are satisfying and fresh. So much of that freshness comes from using seasonal ingredients that make that dish just puts it over the top, gives it that extra pop, that extra zing. When you bring it and you share it, people try it, they’re like, “Ooh, what’s that? Can I have the recipe? I love this. I feel good eating it.”
Kimberly Snyder: Some of the important seasonal ingredients right now around this holiday season include butternut squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, acorn squash and cauliflower. What’s great about these, these foods, as I’ve mentioned, there’s a lot of orange there, which by the way is the color of the sacral chakra, svadhisthana, which is associated with our creativity and our sensuality. It’s just a beautiful energy to bring around the holidays.
Kimberly Snyder: There’s a free flow energy associated with this chakra, this energy center in our bodies. It’s associated with the water element, so lots of orange like the squash and the pumpkin and the sweet potatoes. There’s a lot of grounding elements of these foods as well coming from the earth, having that kapha, that earth energy as they would say in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s grown in the earth. Again, the holidays can be busy. They can be stressful. They can be a whirlwind.
Kimberly Snyder: Root vegetables are considered really important. In traditional Chinese medicine, you’re encouraged to eat more of these earthy foods like the sweet potatoes when you are trying to get pregnant, by the way, for fertility reasons, that grounding earth element helps to ground new life in your body, just as an aside. What’s great about these foods as well, the squash and the pumpkin is you’re also going to get a big bang for your buck.
Kimberly Snyder: When they’re in season, they tend to be lower priced, and they’re quite heavy. They’re bulky, so you can get… I’ve been making a lot of spaghetti squash myself. I make a lot of butternut soup. You’d be surprised by getting one of these big veggies, how many servings you can get out of it. They’re also really easy to prepare. I usually just throw it in the oven, soften it up, and then I scrape it out and add a sauce.
Kimberly Snyder: I scrape out them. I cut up the butternut squash once it’s soft, and then I cook it for a while and puree it into soup. For me, these types of veggies are very no fuss as well for the busy times. Then when you bring it to… You can roast it and cube it. Then right before you serve it, you can add micro greens to make it look fancy and to add a pop of color, some fresh cracked black pepper. Again, it’s more about the freshness.
Kimberly Snyder: Simple dishes can be amazing to share, and they don’t have to take a lot of your time. One thing I’ve been bringing to Bubby’s school, which is low-allergen risk food, and there’s all these parties right now. Our sweet potatoes, I bake them in coconut oil at 375. It depends on your oven. Give or take, let’s say 35, 40 minutes, whatever. Then I sprinkle cinnamon on top, and the kids love them. There’s no added salt. They’re easy to digest, and they’re delicious.
Kimberly Snyder: That’s a really easy dish that you could bring to a get together. I’ll probably bring one to another party this weekend. It’s birthday party. I’m going to an adult party, but also kids. It’s just a fan favorite. Another thing that’s a beautiful dish to bring to parties and also to holiday meals is stuffed acorn squash. This looks beautiful. It’s an edible bowl. I’ve had a stuffed squash recipe, I think, in almost all of the books. I’m thinking you have the one right now in Beauty Detox Foods, which is the orange book.
Kimberly Snyder: You can bake delicious ingredients in stuffed squash like mushrooms and lentils, brown rice, just all sorts of herbs and spices. Again, it looks beautiful. It’s edible. It’s delicious and just makes it look like something that you’re worthy of an entree. It looks quite substantial. You can put lentils in there. You can make it hearty and plant-based and full of delicious protein and all these nutrients, and it doesn’t feel heavy, but again, the brightness of the colors and just simple but careful prep, good seasoning is a wonderful entree that you can share with family and friends.
Kimberly Snyder: I find, again, when you’re thinking about cooking as a vegan or a vegetarian, you want to have more substance because the average person may be used to getting full from really dense protein and fat that come from animal products. We want to load them up. We want to offer them dishes that are high in fiber and have a weight to them, fiber and water like these root veggies, and feel very stabilizing in the body and also feel really satisfied. I think these root veggies have that ability to satisfy us so that we leave the meal feeling good, and we don’t feel overly heavy.
Saving time with one-pot plant based meals
Kimberly Snyder: Another meal prep idea that I want to bring across to you guys, and I’ve also been incorporating this a lot for us plant-based foodies, is to make sure to incorporate more one-pot meals. One-pot meals to me are just as way to stir and love and comfort and all this goodness. I make a lot of kitchari, which you guys can find the recipe for on the website. I made one for my team the other day. I’ve had a lot of people at my home this week. Let’s see, one, two, three, four, five, six, six different people from my team flowing in and out.
Kimberly Snyder: I often make kitchari for everybody, which is a one-pot meal. Everybody loves it. It’s equal parts brown rice. I use red lentils a lot and ginger and seasonal spices like turmeric and cumin and lots of different veggies. This week, I’ve been doing carrots and celery and kale and some spinach. You can just use whatever’s in your fridge, but it comes into this beautiful meal. Besides stirring it, and I’ll talk over the bowl of stirring it. There isn’t a ton of steps.
Kimberly Snyder: One-pot meals are one of those things that are comforting. They’re hot. They’re warm. They really feel like a hug. Your friends and family can really truly appreciate it, but from a practical standpoint, they are doable, that you can fit it into your life. Whether you are a busy momma. You are busy with your job, busy managing all the different things in your life. You can start it up.
Kimberly Snyder: Saute the veggies. Put in the water. Bring it up towards a boil, lower it to a simmer. Give it one last stir, and then go and set the table or take a quick shower. Do whatever else you’re going to do. I mean, don’t take a two-hour shower. I don’t want anybody to have a fire emergency here, but you guys know what I mean. It’s very easeful, which I think is also very important to keep in mind for this season. We want things to taste good. We want them to be easy, and we don’t want to have to feel like we got an arm workout or that we are exhausted by the time we sit down to dinner.
Kimberly Snyder: Another great one-pot dish that I want to bring up that is also great for parties, we talked about the holidays but also even beyond that, Superbowl parties or sports watching parties, is vegan chili. I have a recipe I’ll link to in the show notes. There’s a couple of ones. We also have a red lentil stew. There is a savory squash stew. There’s chili in there as well. To me, this is just a great hearty, pretty easy to make dish when you use all the cayenne pepper and the chili powder, and you make it with all those delicious spices.
Kimberly Snyder: It’s warming. Sometimes if I want to make it extra hearty depending on who I’m cooking with, I’ll even put some tempe in it. I don’t need this all the time, but there is a brand I like a lot called Lightlife. They have a horrible name, but we know what they’re trying to get across. It’s fakin bacon. It has more seasoning in it. Nice clean, of course, this is regular tempe, but it has a good flavor for chili.
Kimberly Snyder: I’ll chop it up, and I’ll put it in the bottom of the bowl, which I’ll saute with the veggies before I add in all the crushed tomatoes and the spices and everything else. That’s something you can think about making. You can also add a little bit more carrot and even red pepper, some kale a little bit to add some more veggies to make your chili a little bit more veggie-centric if you want. Again, if you guys are looking for one-pot recipes, we have tons over mysolluna.com.
How to take healthy “short-cuts” to cut down on meal prep time
Kimberly Snyder: I’ve been a one-pot meal fan for a very long time, so I highly recommend them. Another tip I want to point out is shortcuts. I think that shortcuts are important because they allow us to enjoy our downtime more. If we can spend a little bit less time prepping and more time talking to friends or just laying on the couch having a tea or for me, cuddling Bubby, then I’m going to do it because that is the priority.
Kimberly Snyder: The dish will still come out delicious and great and everything that we want, but to me, I rather have that time. Through the holidays, especially when I get busy, one thing I’ll tell you guys right now is I will put frozen pineapple in my GGS. It’s just one less thing for me to do in the mornings. I don’t have to wash it. I don’t have to chop it. I just open up that bag in the freezer, which is flash frozen at the moment of ripeness, so it has a lot of vitamin retention.
Kimberly Snyder: I throw it in the blender. It’s great. It’s easy and less prep time. I used to be one of those people that would soak and sprout everything like my Brown rice, my lentils. Now I’m happy to pay a little bit more money to get germinated brown rice and sprouted lentils, which you can get at health markets. [inaudible 00:17:08] want to have to clean up the bowls all the time [inaudible 00:17:10]. I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but everything, I find all these little things start to add up, and a lot of times I’m just so busy that I forget to soak.
Kimberly Snyder: For me, buying the sprouted version, the germinated version is a shortcut, and it’s a big time saver. Now, sometimes, I am a big fan at home. Usually, I will… We were just talking about squash, and I love to roast it and buy the big ones, but sometimes, please do not feel guilty if you go to the store and you get the precut squash pieces because it can be a lot to take all those steps to make the soup. I’d rather you make the dish than be caught up and, “Oh my gosh, I don’t have time to cube this whole thing, so I’m not going to make it.”
Kimberly Snyder: It’s better to get precut veggies than to scamp. For sure, that’s just something you have to do sometimes when the holidays get busy and there’s a lot on your plate, and that’s just the way it is. All right, so the next step I want to talk about, the next component of vegan and vegetarian eating to easier time, to increase flavor, to make these beautiful sharable dishes, is herbs and spices. This is the time of year, especially Ayurvedic medicine, we’ll talk about a lot of these warming, beautiful spices to increase circulation.
Spicing up food to add festive flavor
Kimberly Snyder: When we increase circulation, we’re warmed more deeply on the inside, but we’re also keeps our body healthier. It helps to keep our immunity up when there isn’t stagnant blood, there isn’t stagnation of toxicity going on in our system. Spices are multi beneficial. They make our food tastes interesting and fresh and different without adding lots of heavy oils, lots of salts, albeit even mineral rich sea salt, which has some benefits for sure. We don’t want to over rely on salt.
Kimberly Snyder: We don’t want to over rely on just oils for things to taste good. Here’s some that I want to call out for sure. The first is ginger. Ginger is something that I always, always, always have in my… It’s something that I always have in my fridge. I go through quite a bit of ginger in my tea, in my stir fries, just in my dishes in general. When I’m making kitchari, when I’m making soup, I almost always toss it in. I think it’s a really important food.
Kimberly Snyder: Ginger is a great thing to also pair with root veggies like in your butternut squash just to give a little bit of a warming quality. You can put it in carrot soup. Carrot ginger soup is delicious. Another spice I want to point out is nutmeg. Nutmeg is wonderful. It’s great for baking dishes, but it’s also great on these root veggies, I keep going back to because I’m obsessed with them like sweet potatoes and pumpkin. It’s a little bit different than cinnamon.
Kimberly Snyder: Sometimes I like to combine nutmeg and cinnamon, but it can take your pumpkin bisque or even a savory noodle soup over the top to the next level. It’s a versatile spice. I will say this about cinnamon as well. We’re used to thinking about it in a baking context or in a sweet context, but in many places around the world, they use spices like nutmeg and cinnamon in savory dishes, and it adds a little bit of edge, adds a little bit of flavor. It’s really wonderful to incorporate it as well.
Kimberly Snyder: The next spice that I want to talk about is cloves. Cloves are also warming and wonderful. I put cloves when I’m making chai, my own chai tea. I love the way cloves look. I like to get whole cloves, and cook them or make the tea and then strain. I think there’s something really magical about seeing those little clove pods or whatever you call them in your pot. I think they’re beautiful. There is also research that has shown that cloves can help boost your mood and help you reduce stress, which of course is very important right now with all the travel and shopping and getting the right guests for everybody and running around.
Kimberly Snyder: I think clubs are super important. Because they are warming, they also can help break through mucus that feeds the stagnation and the viruses in the body. It’s an important warming spice for immunity as well. These are some of the spices that I wanted to bring up that are great to keep around. Again, talking about sharing with family and friends and keeping things fresh, sometimes these are familiar smell sense that connect people to the holidays.
Kimberly Snyder: Even though your dish may be something they’re not used to, everybody loves cinnamon, or most people love cinnamon. Most people love nutmeg and cloves, and this correlates strongly with the holiday season. There can be that familiarity that can be the bridge to connecting them with your food. The next thing I want to talk about is making energy bites or truffles. When you come to a party, again, you’re plant-based, vegan, vegetarian, whatever.
Kimberly Snyder: It’s a great idea to bring a little sweet treat, which for most of us is something that we’re all going to appreciate. Sweet is the taste madhura in Sanskrit. That’s the word. The sweetness is said to be very soothing to our nervous system. These truffles and these bites, we have many recipes. I will link to several. One is the raw pumpkin spice truffles, which I highly recommend around this time of year. Another one is the spicy beauty chocolate truffles, also very delicious.
Kimberly Snyder: It’s great because they are flour less. Let’s say you’re in a crowd with plant-based people, and then maybe there’s some of your friends or family members that are keto or vegan or all these other diets. There is no grains. There’s no flour. They’re made of basically raw nuts and seeds, things like shredded coconut, coconut oil, dates. They’ve got really wonderful fat for stabilizing your system and keeping you full and satisfied.
Kimberly Snyder: If anybody has ever had a fat-free cookie, if anybody has ever had a fat-free dessert, it just feels a little bit empty. You can feel that something’s missing, and it doesn’t feel as satisfying. What’s great about these, because of the healthy seeds and nuts, because of the coconut oil, you know that you’re going to have something that’s definitely going to satisfy your sweet craving, your sweet tooth, but at the same time, they’re going to digest well.
Kimberly Snyder: They’re going to metabolize well. They’re not going to stagnate in your system. They’re not going to contribute to the bloating and the heaviness that so often accompanies holiday meals. That’s something that your friends and family will really appreciate. Something my husband says now is you never miss out with vegan dessert is what he says. He is transitioning a lot.
Kimberly Snyder: When we met, he was a huge carnivore, you guys. I really took the approach of not wanting to push him at all. I just let things unfold naturally, and he started learning about what I was passionate about. He started seeing how I was eating. Again, back to this topic, he was able to just feel that acceptance and then not pushing from me, which I think drew him even more, and he was able to try some of my food.
Kimberly Snyder: He likes it a lot. He is, I always say, 90% plant-based now of his own natural journey that way, but he’s always like from the start, he loves the coconut ice cream and dark chocolate and all the vegan stuff. He loves the vegan stuff. I make the truffles and everything. This is one thing I think again is it’s accessible. It shows, “Hey, this is a really great thing. This is easy. This feels familiar to people.”
Kimberly Snyder: When you’re working on bringing something to an event and you want to keep it plant-based, you want to have an option maybe to the cookies that may be served or in cheese cake whatever else maybe there that you don’t or you can’t eat if you are plant based, this is just a great thing to share, and again to create that community sense of, “Oh, here’s something everybody can enjoy just like all of these dishes.”
Kimberly Snyder: I want to emphasize that this is a wonderful time of the year to connect deeply, and even though it’s busy, hopefully to find moments to slow down and to choose what we really want to do, and hopefully, again, have that quality time with friends and loved ones. To me, the food part can be very about love and about sharing, and it should bring people together. It shouldn’t separate us.
Kimberly Snyder: This is not the time probably unless someone asks. Unless they’ll really want to dive in to get into no serious discussion or a food debate, to me, it’s more about keep it easy. Keep the conversations about just whatever else but not food, and just bring things to share, everything we talked about the one-pot meals, the colorful, especially, root veggies this time of year, with adding in all the beautiful seasonal spices, and just enjoy your time. Don’t make it a thing.
Kimberly Snyder: We don’t want to create that wall between people. If we don’t judge how people eat, there’s far less of a chance that they will judge what we eat because we don’t even go there. We put up that healthy boundary, and we don’t ignite. We don’t feed that fire. We don’t go down that pathway, so it just fizzles out if it starts to come up. Again, keep the conversations non-food related. Bring something delicious and wonderful to share.
Kimberly Snyder: If we don’t judge other people’s food, then they shouldn’t judge ours. Then if someone does ask why you’re eating this way, you can just say, “Oh well, I just feel good. I feel good.” No one can judge. No one can say anything about the way you feel. We’re not trying to get into a debate, study for study or fact for fact. We’re just talking about how we feel. We can share more if they want to hear. We can just share the actual dish and see.
Kimberly Snyder: Again, we want to come together. We want to create more closeness in the holidays, not more separation. Hopefully these tips will help you get through and have a beautiful Thanksgiving and a beautiful holiday season. I want to share that I am so excited about this year’s Thanksgiving. I’m so excited about life right now in general. I feel truly blessed coming from some really tough years. The last few years for me when I lost my mom and then moved out of my prior home and a little bit of time now had separated from Bubby’s dad, and now just being in a new home in the mountains still in LA but in the woodsy part, beautiful natural place, and getting married.
Kimberly Snyder: I mean, we found this home so ease fully. It was actually the third home we looked at, and we fell in love with it, and put in an offer. I happened really fast. We actually moved within two weeks of getting married. It was this crazy busy whirlwind time, but now that I’m here and I’m able to pause and think about gratitude, which is at the heart of Thanksgiving, I think, “Oh my gosh, what a year, what a time.” Sometimes, we go from rock bottom to the best, happiest times of our lives.
Kimberly Snyder: It’s funny how that happens, but it’s beautiful. There’s so much to learn. There’s so much to be grateful for. I’m really grateful to you, beauty. Thank you so much for tuning in. I love to hear from you. If you have any questions, remember you can go to mysolluna.com/askkimberly, and you could submit questions. I answer four every Thursday on our Q and A podcast. I’m always listening. I’m always here to support you. I’m so grateful we’re on the journey together. I cannot wait to see you back here Thursday.
Kimberly Snyder: Remember, beauties, in the spirit of community, if there’s anyone you think would vibe or benefit from our show, I’d love for you to share it with them. This is all about sharing and support and love. Thank you in advance. It’s a wonderful way to just keep the circle growing and spreading the love. Till then, till Thursday, till we see each other, take great care of yourself. Take the time to… Just take some breaths. Make yourself a nice hot tea, chill, relax, and just be.
Kimberly Snyder: See you back here soon, beauty. Take care and so much love.